World news

First German female rabbi after 75 years

By Jennifer Lipman, November 4, 2010

A female rabbi has been ordained in Germany for the second time in the country’s history – and the first time since the Holocaust.

Alina Treiger, 31, officially became a rabbi at a ceremony in Berlin today, in the presence of Germany's president, Christian Wulff.

The Ukrainian born former music student will look after a liberal Jewish community in Oldenburg, in western Germany. She follows in the footsteps of Regina Jonas, who became a rabbi in 1935 at the age of 33.

Ms Jonas was ordained, amidst some controversy, as Adolf Hitler consolidated power over Nazi Germany.

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Praise for Israel supporters elected at mid-terms

By Jennifer Lipman, November 4, 2010

The leading pro-Israel organisation in America has praised the re-election at the 2010 mid-terms of “many of the strongest friends and supporters of the US-Israel relationship.”

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) congratulated those elected to the112th Congress, which convenes in January.

AIPAC offered special praise for the three Jewish politicians voted in to congress for the first time, including Connecticut senator Richard Blumenthal and David Cicilline, the new representative for Rhode Island and the third openly gay Jewish congressman in office.

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World's most powerful: Netanyahu, Bloomberg, Zuckerberg

By Jennifer Lipman, November 4, 2010

The Israeli prime minister has been named the 24th most powerful person in the world by Forbes magazine.

Last year Benjamin Netanyahu was placed at number 46 but he has risen in influence because “as leader of an undeclared nuclear power, [he] remains the biggest menace to Iran's nuclear ambitions.”

However Mr Netanyahu, the only Israeli on the list, is considered one place less powerful than Jewish politician and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who came in at number 23.

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US mid-terms: the Jewish winners and losers

By Jennifer Lipman, November 3, 2010

It was a mixed result for Jewish politicians as America voted in the 2010 mid-terms.

In what appears to have been the worst results in decades for the Democrats, President Barack Obama’s party has lost its majority in the House of Representatives and suffered defeats in key senate seats.

Richard Blumenthal, despite a tough challenge from the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, and a scandal over his claimed Vietnam record, was elected as the new junior Senator for Connecticut.

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Jewish Republican Cantor set for majority leader role

By Jennifer Lipman, November 3, 2010

The only Jewish Republican in Congress is set to become the new majority leader of the United States House of Representatives after the party made massive gains at the mid-term elections.

Eric Cantor, who won the Virginia seat he has held since 2000, has been the minority whip since 2008. The Republican landslide means he is expected to step into a more influential role.

The role is the second most powerful in the House leadership. Mr Cantor will take over from Democrat Steny Hoyer.

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Cartoon Kahane is comic book character

By Jennifer Lipman, November 2, 2010

An extremist right-wing rabbi has been made into a comic book cartoon, 20 years after his assassination.

Rabbi Meir Kahane is the "star" of “Miracle Man”, a 50-page graphic novel designed to educate children about his life and political ideology.

It has been published by the Jerusalem-based Yeshiva of the Jewish Idea, set up in 1987 by Rabbi Kahane and now run by his followers.

Its English director Levi Chaden said: “[The comic] is for those who never had the chance to meet him.”

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Egyptian Jewish leader not guilty of fraud

By Jennifer Lipman, November 2, 2010

The head of Egypt’s Jewish community has escaped prison after winning an appeal against a fraud conviction.

Carmen Weinstein was found not guilty of defrauding a businessman out of more than £320,000 by an appeals court in Cairo.

In July Ms Weinstein, 82, was sentenced to three years in prison for selling a property which she did not own. She was alleged to have taken money from an investor for the purchase but not given him the deeds to the building.

She denied the charges and said that the documents supplied as evidence were false.

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Vandals target Jewish centre on Illinois campus

By Jennifer Lipman, November 1, 2010

A Chabad house at a prestigious American university has been vandalised.

Attackers broke the bulbs and one branch of a statue of a menorah outside the Jewish centre, which serves students at the Northwestern University campus in Illinois.

Local police said they were viewing the incident as a hate crime and investigating what happened.

The Chabad director, Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein, told the student newspaper that the vandalism reinforced “the need to educate people on the importance of different religious symbols.”

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Jewish graves in France vandalised

By Jennifer Lipman, November 1, 2010

Vandals have desecrated nearly 50 graves in a Jewish cemetery in France.

A passer-by noticed the damage to the Bar-le-Duc cemetery in northeastern France and alerted the police.

In total, 49 graves were found to have been knocked over or broken.

The attack was described as antisemitic by The National Bureau of Vigilance Against Antisemitism.

They said investigators should “take into consideration the racist character of the degradations in this old Jewish cemetery.”

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JFK speechwriter Sorenson dies

By Jennifer Lipman, November 1, 2010

Theodore Sorensen, John F Kennedy’s speechwriter, has died at the age of 82.

Mr Sorenson, whose mother Annis Chaikin was of Russian Jewish descent, died in New York following a stroke.
He joined the future president’s senatorial staff in 1953, when he was 25 and just out of law school.

He worked with President Kennedy during the 1960 presidential election and was one of the main figures in what came to be known as Camelot.

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